Submitted by Newton on Fri, 08/09/2013 - 17:11.
I became President of the Board of Managers of Oakwood School in the middle of 1973, and made these remarks about Quaker education when I presided at the graduation ceremony the following June:
Remarks at Graduation
Oakwood Friends School
Submitted by Newton on Sat, 11/26/2011 - 19:48.
Friends seem generally in denial about our long-standing war against nature. The chief human accomplishment in this war has been the explosion of the human population. When I was born, no human had lived through a doubling of the human population. In my lifetime it has more than tripled, and I could still live to see it quadruple. All that growth has been at the expense of nature, that is, at the expense of other creatures and features of the natural world. How has that happened?
My extended thoughts about this dilemma were published in the November 2011 issue of SPARK, and are attached.
Submitted by Newton on Tue, 09/06/2011 - 06:40.
Last year Evo Morales Ayma, president of Bolivia since 2006 and the first indigenous Amerindian elected president of any country in South America, published a volume containing his messages on economic and environmental policies. It contains highly challenging ideas, often deliberately confronting those of the United States. Some of what he says is political hype and some of it seems out of touch with scientific thinking. But the same can be said for most of what US politicians have to say about those matters, and some of what he says invokes deep moral principles. The shame is that Evo Morales has been ignored by the US media, although his ideas deserve thoughtful discussion. I have made some notes from his book, which are attached. Although I have occasionally paraphrased in my own words [in square brackets], most of the notes are direct quotations.
Submitted by Newton on Thu, 07/14/2011 - 07:27.
This little vignette is what I remember rather than documented history. Even if others remember it differently, it is a good story. I have given New YorkYearly Meeting permission to publish it, but I do not know when or in what venue that might happen. Next year is the centennial of Bayard’s birth, and the following year the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, so there are plenty of coming occasions to hear about him.
Submitted by Newton on Thu, 04/21/2011 - 17:50.
Iris Murdoch holds that proper attention both reduces choices and increases freedom. Wow! When we get our minds around that inspired thought, we will have put some distance between ourselves and the stultifying dogmas of our outcome-oriented civilization.
Paying proper attention, which is especially important with respect to other people, means appreciating the inherent reality of what we are attending to. Simone Weil took mathematics or formal logic to be good training for paying proper attention, because it is so difficult in these fields to hide reality under hopes or desires. Seeing other people as they really are is much more difficult than seeing mathematical reality.
Submitted by Newton on Sun, 03/27/2011 - 18:52.
THE FUTURE OF QUAKERISM
SPARK, the bimonthly newsletter of the New York Yearly Meeting, set this topic as the theme for May, 2011. I know that one cannot know the future, or even foresee it with any accuracy. A new best-selling book documents how wrong pundits and experts have been over past decades. In any case George Fox wrote to his parents, There is no time bu this present," and Friends have sometimes idsdained forecasting by saying that God clerks the Outcomes Committee. When caring for the present, however, part of our task is to nurture the seeds we find and the soil in which they are planted. So I have responded to the challenge of SPARK with some thoughts on the seeds that are within our care. The article is attached.
Submitted by Newton on Fri, 01/14/2011 - 08:52.
One memorable experience of 2010 was hearing Greg Mortenson as Distinguished Speaker at UB’s Alumni Arena. It was a great crowd, and awesome to feel the enthusiasm and admiration and become part of it.
Mortenson is not impressive to look at and not a polished speaker, but his commitment and his story are spell-binding. In an area where women have had no role outside the home, in villages with no school for girls and often no school at all, working with people who speak no English, he has arranged for 131 schools to be built, mostly for girls. Although located in regions where the Taliban recruit, only one of the schools has ever been attacked, and the attack was repulsed by villagers.
The achievement is monumental, and three aspects especially amaze me.
Submitted by Newton on Tue, 11/09/2010 - 21:39.
Reinhold Niebuhr was not a pacifist. ;Niebuhr was interested in exercising political power and dominance, whereas a Quaker leader needs to refrain from exercising such power. Christianity has been political since at least the 4th century, with the conversion of Constantine and the suppression of the texts known as the Gnostic Gospels. That is to say, a concern for power and dominance has been present, often primary, and has led Christian churches to work hand in glove with civil authorities. Niebuhr stands in this tradition, as does the “Just War” doctrine. Quakers stand outside it.
See attachments for full text